PERHAPS most boys and girls, if they have ever thought at all about knives and forks, suppose that they have been made and used always, or at least as long as people have been civilized and lived in houses, but the fact is that they have only been used about three hundred years; before that time our ancestors had never seen a fork, and each man, so history tells us, had his own knife, which he carried in his pocket and used at the table. Meat and bread were passed from one to another without being carved or cut up, and each man cut off a piece to suit himself with his own knife. As we read nothing about the women and children having knives of their own, we must suppose that they did not own such treasures, but were obliged to borrow their husband's and father's after they had finished their meal. After the food was cut up into small pieces it was put into the mouth by the fingers of the left hand. We would think eating without forks very rude now; yet no farther away than Mexico, the Spanish Mexicans eat very gracefully and neatly without forks, using a tortilla (pronounced tor-tee-ya), a thin cake made of corn-meal and baked on an iron or stone griddle, with which to carry their food to their mouths, and then eat the cake also. And in many parts of Spain, forks and spoons are almost unknown to this day.

The Chinese eat with chopsticks, or small sticks of wood or ivory, and they handle them very dexterously, too, having used them so long, while we would be very awkward should we try to take our food with them.

Elizabeth was the first queen of England who is known to have had a fork; several were presented to her, but she probably used them only on rare occasions when she entertained the nobility at a great feast, preferring usually to use her fingers as every one else did in those days. In royal households at that time there was a servant whose special duty it was to attend the tables with basins of water and towels, that the lords and princes might wash their hands whenever they chose, and it was considered a great honor to wash after the 

king or queen.

Steel forks were first manufactured for general use at Sheffield, England, and the general introduction of silver forks in Great Britain was as late as 1814. 

Young Folk's Favorite.