We Europeans were a nasty folk before forks came to
improve our table-manners. We find Erasmus saying that it is absurd to scrape the dirt off an egg-shell with one's finger- nails, when the job can be done more elegantly with a knife. Even in England we took a long time to learn to use a fork for conveying food to our mouths ; we only steadied the joint with it, while we hacked off suitable gobbets with our knives. But from Italy there came to us in the seventeenth century table-reformation and its weapons, and Major C. T. P. Bailey of the Victoria and Albert Museum describes and figures in Knives and Forks (The Medici Society, 17s. 6d.) the marvellously beautiful collection of cutlery which rests there and elsewhere, ranging from the late fourteenth to the eighteenth century. From the artistic or collector's point of view this admirable monograph is the first and only authority on the subject in English.
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