There are two ways of thinking of history.
There is, first, history regarded as a way of looking at other things,
really the temporal aspect of anything,
from the universe to this nib with which I am writing.
Everything has its history.
There is the history of the universe,if only we knew it
—and we know something of it, if we do not know much.
Nor is the contrast so great,when you come to think of it,
between the universe and this pen-nib.
A mere pen-nib has quite a considerable history.
There is, to begin with, what has been written with it,
and that might be something quite important.
After all it was probably only one quill-pen or a couple that wrote Hamlet.
Whatever has been written with the pen-nib is part of its History.
In addition to that there is the history of its manufacture:
this particular nib is a “Relief” nib, No. 314,
made by R. Esterbrook and Co. in England,
who supply the Midland Bank with pen-nibs, from whom I got it—a gift, I may say.
But behind this nib there is the whole process of manufacture....
In fact a pen nib implies universe,and the history of it implies its history.
We may regard this way of looking at it—history—as the time-aspect of all things:
a pen-nib, the universe,the fiddle before me as I write,
as a relative conception of history.
There is, secondly, what we might call a substantive conception of history,
what we usually mean by it, history proper as a subject of study in itself.