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Perhaps it was not so great a source of danger in the days of the old wood fires.It is deadly enough when huge coal fires burn in the grates. For days, or even for a week or two, it will smoulder and smoulder; and then at last it will blaze up, and the old house with all its precious contents is wrecked.We are losing faith in the testimony of our poets and painters to the beauty of the English landscape which has inspired their art, and much of the charm of our scenery in many parts has vanished.We happily have some of it left still where factories are not, some interesting objects that artists love to paint.The England of a century, or even of half a century ago, has vanished, and we find ourselves in the midst of a busy, bustling world that knows no rest or peace.Inventions tread upon each other's heels in one long vast bewildering procession.Highways and coaching roads, canals and rivers, were abandoned and deserted.

They were a hardy race, and feared not a touch or breath of cold.It may be said that we have begun our quest too late; that so much has already vanished that it is hardly worth while to record what is left.Although much has gone, there is still, however, much remaining that is good, that reveals the artistic skill and taste of our forefathers, and recalls the wonders of old-time.We look back at the peaceful reign of the pack-horse, the rumbling wagon, the advent of the merry coaching days, the "Lightning" and the "Quicksilver," the chaining of the rivers with locks and bars, the network of canals that spread over the whole country; and then the first shriek of the railway engine startled the echoes of the countryside, a poor powerless thing that had to be pulled up the steep gradients by a chain attached to a big stationary engine at the summit.But it was the herald of the doom of the old-world England.

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