Archive for April, 2010


Erasmus, writing about the customs of his time, did not forget to mention folly.  “If, among the guests, there is not at least one capable of making everyone laugh by his natural or artificial folly, a buffoon is paid, or some ridiculous parasite is brought, who knows how to chase silence and sadness away from the drinkers, by hilarious clumsiness.”

Rich Romans always have this “ridiculousness” around them, to amuse them during meals.  Weaving  sententious maxims into his discourse, this unprejudiced and undisciplined philosopher pays for the hospitality given to him, by witty sallies, the only money he owns.

But these types of buffoons are not seen only at meals.  They also appear at funerals, after the hired mourners and the flute players.  These strolling players, these actors, can also be found in triumphal processions, when a conqueror enters a town in pomp.

After the Battle of Philippes, when Anthony goes to Asia to raise the money promised to the legionaries, he enters each town with a whole troupe of asiatic jesters, who surpass in buffooneries and in lewd jokes, the same sort of people brought with him from Italy.

This fashion comes from the Orient anyway, because, according to Plutarch, the King of Persia had a fool at his table.

In the time of David, King Akish of Gath kept fools at his court.  In the Book of Kings, it is said that David, pursued by Saul’s anger, arrives at Akish’s home.  Recognised by the King’s servants, he pretends to be mad.  Akish says to his servants:  “You can see that this man has lost his mind.  Why do you bring him to me?  Do I have any lack of fools, that you bring me this one and show me his extravagances?”

The great Solomon, himself, had his buffoon.

The little Greek sovereigns all had fools around them.  They are found at the court of Philip II of Macedonia, and at the courts of the successors of Alexander, his son;  in the homes of the Attales, Kings of Pergamo;  in the palace of the tyrant Denys, at Syracuse;  later at the home of Theodoric II, King of the Spanish Wisigoths, and with Attila, sovereign of the Huns.

So, the use of buffoons, which went from the Orient into Greece, then from Greece to Rome, goes back very far.

The expression “race of buffoons” may seem strange, but it can be explained.  Dynasties of buffoons did exist.  This profession was exercised from father to son.

Speaking of an idiot, Bouchet declares that this servant “was from a family and of a race of whom all were honestly foolish and joyful:  further, all those who were born in the house where this servant was born, even if they were not of his line, came into the world mad and were mad all their lives;  so much so, that the great lords obtained fools from this house, and, by this method, they brought great revenue to its master”.

Second part tomorrow.

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Lagging behind

For those of you who follow my posts on a daily basis, I would like to apologise for the absence of anything interesting today.  I got up very late (it was cold) and then was side-tracked by a few other things on WordPress.  Spent a lot of time on Roger’s Place, among other things.

The result of all this is that, being Autumn in this part of the world, it is getting dark, and I would rather not use the lamp to see what I’m typing.  (Must keep electricity use to a minimum – global warming, etc.)

So-o-o, I promise to start another subject tomorrow.  It will be about buffoons.  The historical ones, not your next-door neighbour.  Am still trying to think of a title.  Pop back tomorrow (not too early, for those of you in Australia).  I shall post before visiting anything else.  I promise!

We are now arriving at the moment when ablutions are becoming rarer.  The mobile vase and basin are replaced by a fountain fixed on the wall, but it is more of an ornament than a useful object.

Under the Restoration of the monarchy in France, the fountain also disappears, to be replaced by a mouth-rincer, borrowed from the English neighbours.  Let us listen to the indignation of this professor of good manners on the subject.

“There are rude and very impolite people who are able to forget themselves to the point of rincing their mouths at the table and then spitting out the water.  It would be an impertinence to do something like that in front of the people to whom you owe respect, and it is even dishonest to do such a thing among equals.”

Mouth-rincers, discredited for a long time, reappear at the beginning of the XXth Century, as stated by Le Gaulois in 1906:  “The use of bowls called mouth-rincers has just been re-introduced at the table of the King of England, at the end of the meal.  Since the exile of the Stuarts, their use was abolished, except for the King and the Queen.  The other table companions were not allowed to have mouth-rincers, and the reason is rather curious.

“There remained in England, even at the court, numerous Stuart sympathisers, and it was noticed that these Jacobites, at the moment of toasting the King, passed their glass over the bowl of water.  Understood only by them, it was a way of showing that their toast was going to the real King, across the water.  The bowls were abolished to abolish this fiction.

“Here [in France], mouth-rincers persisted up until about twenty years ago;  bowls are only used for fingers, and it is probably this that has been re-introduced into the English court.”

Today, industrial finger-rincers, or hot, perfumed towels are still distributed in certain restaurants.  This after-meal ablution shows better than any document, the survival of past customs.  Although, the picturesque note of yester-year is forever lost – which is a pity.

Let us have a last look at it, at the time of knights in shining armour.

“Then came a maitre d’hotel who very gently knelt in front of the damsel and said to her:

“”My damsel, it is ready when it pleases you to wash.”

“”Faith”, says she.  “When it pleases my lords who are here.”

“To which Antoine answered:

“”Damsel, we are all ready when it pleases you.””

This poetic little entr’acte is a lot better than its horrible evolution to the mouth-rincer.  Don’t you think?

In 1766, the Strasbourg printer, Armand Konig, edits some Elements de politesse by a certain Prevost, in which we can see what is considered to be good manners in the time of Mme Dubarry.  It contains a dual list of advice on how to behave at meals, and it is difficult to know which are the more astonishing:  the things that are recommended, or the things that are prohibited.

“Do not dig your elbows into those next to you;  do not put your hand into the serving dish before the highest ranking person has begun;  do not show by any gesture that you are hungry and do not look at the meats with a sort of avidity, as if you want to devour everything;  do not rush to hold out your plate to whomever distributes the cut meat, to be served first;  however hungry you may be, do not gulp down your food for fear of choking;  do not put a morsel into your mouth before having swallowed the other one, and do not take such a big one that it fills it indecently;  do not make noises while you are serving yourself, do not make any either while chewing the meats, and do not break the bones or the kernels with your teeth;  do not eat soup from the serving dish, but put it cleanly on your plate;  do not bite into your bread;  do not suck the bones to draw out their marrow;  it is very indecent to touch something greasy, some sauce, syrup, etc., with the fingers, otherwise this obliges you to commit two or three indecencies, one of frequently wiping your hands on your serviette, and soiling it like a kitchen towel, the other to wipe them on your bread, which is even dirtier, and the third of licking your fingers, which is of the worst impropriety;  be careful not to dip your bread or your meat into the serving dish, or to dip your morsels in the salt cellar;  do not offer to others that which you have tasted;  have for a general rule that everything which has been at any time on your plate should not be put back into the serving dish, and that there is nothing more revolting than to clean and wipe your plate or the bottom of some serving dish with your fingers;  during the meal, do not criticise the meats and sauces;  do not be the first to ask for a drink, for it is greatly impolite;  carefully avoid speaking with a full mouth;  it is impolite to clean your teeth with a knife or a fork during the meal.”

So, that’s what not to do.  Now let’s have a look at what you should do.

“When taking your place at the table, remove your hat;  always wipe your spoon when, after having used it, you want to take something in another serving dish, as there are people so delicate that they will not want to eat soup in which you have put it, after having had it in your mouth;  close your lips while eating so as not to lap like the animals;  if you unfortunately burn yourself, suffer it patiently if you can;  but if you are unable to stand it, take your plate cleanly in one hand, and put it against your mouth, cover yourself with the other hand and put what you have in your mouth back on the plate, which you will give to a lackey behind you, for good manners mean that you must be polite, but it is not expected that you should kill yourself;  good manners demand that you carry meat to your mouth with one hand only, usually the right, with the fork;  when your hands are greasy, you must wipe them on the serviette and never on the tablecloth, nor on your bread.  Take care never to throw anything on the floor, unless it is something liquid, although it is better to put it on your plate;  do not taste the wine, and do not drink your glass in two or three goes, for that is much too familiar, but drink it in one breath and slowly, looking inside it while you drink;  I say slowly for fear of choking, which would be a very impolite and very annoying accident;  otherwise, drinking all in one go, as if you are filling a barrel, is a piggish action, which is not honest;  you must also be careful in drinking not to make any noise with your throat allowing every swallow to be heard, so that another is able to count them.”

Tenth and last part tomorrow.

The fork is now in use in all levels of society.  There is no home so poor that it doesn’t have any, even if they are in pewter or in iron.  They usually have four prongs.  Two-pronged forks are only used for eating oysters or snails.

At the beginning of the XVIIIth Century, in England, a three-pronged fork is used, with a handle in the form of a nail claw.  The fourth prong appears under George II.

Later, fork handles are decorated with engravings, flowers, garlands, or even coats-of-arms and, more simply, the initials of the person who owns them.  The use of the fork to turn green salad dates from the beginning of the XVIIth Century.

Up until the eve of the French Revolution, when dining in town, a lackey is sent a few minutes ahead, to take your knife and fork to the place of the feast.  If you don’t have a lackey, you carry these indispensable instruments in the best pocket of your breeches.

This old custom lasts until the beginning of the XXth Century in certain outlying French provinces.  In a few rural parts of Germany, Switzerland and the Tyrol, it is the custom to go to dinner with a little pocket kit, containing spoon, knife and fork.

It seems that from the day that the use of the fork becomes generalised, the habit of cleanliness is lost.  Whereas, in the country, where forks are not yet used, “everyone goes to wash their hands at the well”, in town, even at court, they are satisfied with moistening them with a little alcohol or perfumed water.  “The greatest of kings”, Louis XIV, is presented with a wet towel, upon which he usually just lays his august hands.

There seems to be some sort of competition to see who can be the dirtiest.  Tallemant, praising people of the highest quality, finds nothing better to say than “they were very clean”.  He says:  “Mme de Sable is always on her bed done up like four eggs and the bed is clean like the lady”.

Mme de Motteville feels the need to let us know that Anne of Austria is “clean and very tidy”.  She also tells us that, upon the arrival of Queen Christina of Sweden in Compiegne, the hands of the august sovereign “were so filthy, that it was impossible to notice any beauty”.

An indiscrete Regency chronicler says of the Duke de Vendome, that he is so dirty that no-one sits near him at meals.  Another one says of the father of the great Conde, that “if he were clean, he would not be too bad”.

A third, speaking of the famous Duke d’Enghien, assures us that he is dirty and ugly.  Even Chancellor Seguier, himself, eats with the dirtiest hands that can be seen.

It is, however, inexact to claim that people stopped washing their hands completely at this time.  In 1667, the ceremony of hand-washing is still rigorously maintained.  “If it happens that a person of quality keeps you for a meal, it is impolite to wash with that person, without being expressly ordered to do it, being careful, if there is no officer to take away the towel on which you have wiped your hands, to keep it and not suffer it to remain in the hands of a person of higher quality.”

It seems like a lot of fuss over a simple act, which appears to be more show than substance.  However, what can we say after reading the following decisive passage:  “when you are about to sit down to a meal, you must wash your hands in the presence of the others, even if you do not need to do it, so that those with whom you put your hands in the serving dish have no doubt that they are clean”?

The message seems to be that even if you don’t care about being clean for yourself, do it for the sake of your table companions.  The washing of hands is thus a gesture of friendship and even of respect.

Ninth part tomorrow.

In Venice, the fork seems to have been introduced as early as the XIth Century, by a Greek princess, wife of the Doge Domenico Silvio.  She carries her food to her mouth “with little two-pronged forks of gold”.

This novelty passes for a mark of such outrageous refinement that it causes a scandal, and the lady is severely objurgated by the ecclesiastics, who call divine anger down upon her.  Shortly afterward, she comes down with a repulsive illness, and Saint Bonaventure does not hesitate in declaring that it is a punishment from God.

The terrifying preacher Olivier Maillard is still fulminating against the lady sinner, three centuries later.

A text from a XIIIth Century traveller proves that the Tartars of that time are already using forks for eating meat.

The same instrument is used in Italy, in a town called Plaisance, in 1390.  It only appears one hundred years later in Venice.

From Italy, it is taken to England, in 1611, by Thomas Coryate.  He will be the object of a constant stream of sarcasm for this exploit, and will be known only as furcifer, or “fork-man”, from then on.

Before that, the fork had arrived in France, rather timidly at first – we have already noted that it existed only in a few princely inventories – and for very precise uses.  It is to the mignons that is owed its acclimatisation in this country.

Such a capital revolution of custom, like eating with forks, must not have happened without a reason.  Mr Havard believes that he has discovered this reason in the extraordinary development of collars and ruffs at the end of the XVIth Century.

As it is impossible to carry food to the mouth with the fingers while wearing such a collar, spoon handles have to be lengthened, and, for solid foods, forks have to be used.

For his part, Mr Bonnaffe attributes the importation of forks into France to Henri III, who is able to appreciate their utility when he passes through Venice.  However, it is worth noting that, once the fashion of ruffs has ended, the use of forks becomes less frequent.  This could just be coincidental.

Returning to France from Poland, Henri III passes through Venice, where he is given a magnificent reception.  At this meal, he sees a particular instrument whose utility is obvious.  On his arrival in France, he talks about it to those around him, and this is how the habit of using it started.

Pamphleteers, who let nothing escape them, are indignant about this innovation.  They mock the mignons, who never touch meat with their hands, but with forks, carrying it to their mouths, “stretching their necks and their bodies over their plates”.  They also have the nerve to take up their lettuce with this little forked tooth, and not only lettuce, but also artichokes, asparagus, peas and shelled beans!

However, beginnings are difficult, and most people “drop as much in the serving dish, on their plates, and on the way, as they put in their mouths”.  The insistent mocker laughs at these refined people who wash their hands in water “where irises have soaked”, even though their hands haven’t touched either meat or grease, because they have forks.

Although the fashion of forks penetrates court circles, it isn’t adopted by everyone, even in high society.  The “gallant ladies”, in Brantome’s time, use either fingers or forks, or both, when eating pates and other hot delicacies.

It isn’t until the century of the Grand King that we see manuals of polite behaviour recommending the use of the fork.  Even so, for a long time, at the table of Louis XIV, only the King uses this instrument.  The others have to make do with a knife and their fingers.

Eighth part tomorrow.

We have seen that, as early as the XIVth Century, forks are used for a few special foods, but not as a general rule.  We have looked at the most elegant court, the French court, and its satellites, the courts of the dukes of Anjou, of Burgundy, etc.  The rich middle classes do not have any.

During the whole of the Middle Ages, fingers are the only forks used by table companions of whatever rank.  Meats were usually served already in pieces.  “Each person takes whatever is presented to him with three fingers, or holds out his plank to receive it.”

If the meat is greasy and full of juice, “it is bad manners to plunge your hands into it;  but you take the morsel that you want with your knife”, to transfer it onto the plank.  This is a plate of metal, of wood, or of very thick greyish-brown bread.  It is round or square, and is a support on which to cut your meat.

In poor homes, a piece of bread, modelled into a little bowl with the finger, replaces the salt cellar.  “Bread for a salt cellar” is indicated in the description of a meal in the XVIth Century.  The planks, after having been simple slices of hardened bread, are made in pewter or in brass.  They are the equivalent of our plates.

The salt cellar is placed in front of the master of the house, and indicates his place at the table.  Some of them are mounted on wheels, so as to be more easily sent to his table companions.

If the food is liquid, a sauce for example – for sauces are served separately, in deep dishes or in bowls – “you can dip your flesh into it after the others;  if the others dip their bread in it, you can also dip your own honestly, without turning it on the other side, after having dipped it on one, nor mop it around in the dish”.  If there is a spoon in the bowl, “you can take it to taste it, but put it back, after having wiped it on the serviette”.

A young medical student from Bale, dining at his master’s home in Montpellier, reports that each guest eats his soup with his fingers, each in his own bowl.  “As we were eating the soup in the local custom, that is to say by taking it with our fingers then drinking the broth afterwards, one of us became unnecessarily unpleasant with the hostess about having a spoon, for there weren’t any in the house and we had on the table only one big knife attached to an iron chain, which everyone used in turn.  We do not yet have the very useful custom of spoons where I come from [Switzerland].”

So, in the Renaissance, all sorts of foods are still eaten with the fingers.  The solids on the plank, the liquids in the bowl.  Knives are used, but spoons are rare.  As for the fork, there are none before the XIVth Century.

Neither forks nor spoons are mentioned in the Bible.  The paintings of meals, like the Cana wedding, do not show any forks.  On the served tables in the miniatures of the Middle Age manuscripts and the first known engravings, the fork is invariably absent.

In the middle of the table, there is the serving dish with the piece de resistance, a large knife with a rounded handle beside it, and sometimes, a spoon in the form of a spatula.  If there is a big fork with sharp teeth, looking vaguely like a table fork, it is only an instrument to help the guests catch hold of the pieces of meat.

Kitchen forks are used to pull meat out of cooking pots, but the table fork remains unknown, at least in France, until the reign of Henri III.

Seventh part tomorrow.

When do forks come into use?  This is a problem which has given rise to interminable discussions.

Ovid, addressing himelf to the beautiful people of his time, says:  “Take food with your fingers;  do not grease your face with a soiled hand”.  Which must mean that there are no forks.

Mr Havard believes that the Greeks and the Romans had forks, but his arguments are rather specious.  He says:  “Neptune’s trident is, after all, only a very big fork.  We also know, by Homer, that the Greeks had them and used them to present meat to a flame when they wanted to grill it.  The Romans also used them.  Some have been discovered in ancient digs.”

The parallel with the trident seems rather hazardous.  On the other hand, it is true that the Greeks and the Romans – as well as the Egyptians – used a sort of hook for attaching pieces of meat.  But is this the ancestor of the fork?

In the interesting Recueil d’antiquites by Count de Caylus, we find the sketch of a silver two-pronged fork, which is too well-preserved for a relic discovered in the ruins of the Appian Way.  Nicolai, in his Antichita di Pesto, shows us a five-pronged fork specimen, found at Paestum, in the tomb of a warrior, surrounded by a whole collection of utensils.  Its use remains problematic.

Caylus was later convinced that he had been tricked by the person who had sold him his fork.  And in a debate, on the subject of the Paestum fork, a foreign expert has proven that this little instrument had never been used for eating.  Anthony Rich, who does not agree, shows the sketches of these two dodgy forks in his Dictionnaire des Antiquites.

Knives and spoons, on the other hand, seem to have been used by the Romans.  The cultellus is the carving knife.  The culter coquinaris (cook’s knife) is used to cut meat.  Butchers used a similar instrument for the same thing.

Ligula or lingula (little tongue) is a sort of little spoon having a certain resemblance with the human tongue, and was used for eating jams, to take balm from a jar, to skim certain dishes, and for other uses which needed its particular form.

The cochlear or cochleare (kokliarion) is the spoon used for eating eggs and shell-fish.  It has a small spoon at one end, and ends in a point at the other.  The big end is used as an egg-cup and the point is used to pull the fish from its shell.

Although forks are totally unknown, everyone has a knife and, seizing the meat on the table with his or her hand, cuts the piece that he or she wants, and passes the dish to his or her neighbour.

The first table utensils are therefore knives and spoons.  Fortunat tells us that Saint Radegonde, the wife of Clotaire I, gave food to sick people with a spoon.  As for forks, they are mentioned for the first time at the beginning of the XIVth Century.

In 1328, in the inventory of Queen Clemence of Hungary, we find about thirty spoons and a gold fork.  When Queen Jeanne d’Evreux dies, she leaves a fork, carefully locked in a case, and sixty-four spoons.

In 1379, the Duchess de Touraine has nine dozen silver spoons and two gilded silver forks.  Pierre Gaveston, favourite of Edward II, possesses sixty-nine silver spoons and only three forks, which are reserved exclusively for “eating pears”.

Charles V has forks of gold, with handles of precious stones.  However, these rare forks have a very specific function.  They are for grilling Bresse and Auvergne cheeses which are eaten with sugar and cinnamon powder.

Sixth part tomorrow.

For a long time, the habit of washing with two, three or more people in the same basin is conserved.  Here is a passage from a satire about Henri III of France’s mignons:

“After they were all seated at the table, a big, gilded, silver basin with a matching vase were brought, and in it water where irises had soaked, with which they washed their hands.”  This passage also shows that perfumed water is still being used for the washing of hands.

It is an honour to associate someone with this act of cleanliness, or at least an act of friendship or of politeness.

Monconys reports:  “We went to dine at the home of Mr de Mayence, who had Monsieur the Duke [de Chevreuse], travelling companion of the author, wash with him in the same basin before and after the meal.”

In the Historiette which he consecrates to Mr du Bellay, Tallemant shows us the wife of this gentleman refusing to “wash” with a certain Mme de la Troche and signalling to a family member to replace her, to make sure that that lady did not wash with her.

At supper the Grande Mademoiselle is reluctant to wash with the King, then with Monsieur.  But this is a show of deference.  For the King, she is unable to accept, because His Majesty is so imposing.

It is not rare to see two men “wash” together, and before a woman.  This is not considered impolite.  It is the custom.  Just as two people eat from the same bowl, without anyone thinking it strange.

In the Roman de Perceforet, after having described the magnificent pomp of a banquet shared by eight hundred knights, the author adds:  “and there was no-one who did not have a lady or a virgin at his bowl”.

This custom only disappeared completely in the XVIIth Century.  Viollet-Le-Duc remarks however that, in the XVIth Century, “in sumptuous meals, it can be seen that each guest has his own soup bowl”.

By delicate consideration, care is taken to associate two guests having a mutual liking for each other.

In Ivanhoe, Walter Scott shows us Richard Coeur-de-Lion, back from his crusade, at the humble home of the Hermit, plunging his hand into a venison pate and leaving the imprint of his fingers in it.

This habit of putting the hand in the serving dish is not completely gone by the XIXth Century.  Baron Oscar de Wateville assures us of having known in his childhood some people who, respecting good manners, ate salad with their fingers.

In certain French provinces, still at the beginning of the XIXth Century, during grand dinners, the prettiest woman is asked to mix the salad “with her beautiful, white hands”, and it is an homage, an honour that cannot be refused.

The habit of two people eating together from the same bowl, and several people from the same serving dish, means that the hands need to be clean, and it is easy to understand the exclamation of Montaigne, declaring that it would be difficult for him not “to wash on arriving at table and on rising”.  But it must be said that in Montaigne’s time, if you wash your hands before and after meals, you also have no qualms about wiping your fingers on the edges of the tablecloth while you are eating.

Fingers are wiped with a towel and, in modest families, on the tablecloth.  In winter, when important people are invited, care is taken to give them a pre-heated towel.  In the better homes, the towel is changed at each course, but this custom is starting to fall into disuse in Montaigne’s time.

It will be even worse when an instrument with two or three prongs, known as a fork, starts to be used.  From that day forward, people consider that they no longer have to wash their hands.

As long as they have to eat with their fingers, they have to keep them clean.  This precaution becomes useless once food can be carried to the mouth without being touched.

Fifth part tomorrow.

If hand hygiene has always been practised, this does not mean that cleanliness is the rule everywhere.

One author is indignant at the spectacle of certain Alsatian peasants, who sit down to a meal without washing their hands, and take the places reserved for others.  He says that they are also the first to put their hands in the serving dishes and fill their faces before anyone else has started.

One of them is in such a hurry to eat that, blowing on his soup, his cheeks swell up as if he is about to blow down his neighbour’s grange.  Another one puts food, that he has dropped, back into the serving dish.  A third one sniffs all the food.  A fourth one gets merry from drinking too quickly.  A fifth one glugs down his drink so fast that his nose is transformed into a wine fountain.

“Here are some whose mouths are so full that you would think that they are stuffed with straw.  They roll their eyes everywhere, like monkeys.  I do not approve of making noises while drinking, nor that the wine be sucked through the teeth, these noises are annoying.  Some people make as much noise in drinking as cows returning from pasture.  Wiping your fingers on the tablecloth, putting your elbows on the table, rocking from side to side, shaking the table, putting all four arms and legs on the table, like Geispolsheim’s fiancee, staining your bread with sauces, taking salt with your knife which has been used for Heaven alone knows what, instead of taking it with your fingers, are impolite actions.  I could write a book, a whole Bible, of these ugly habits.”

This is happening in the country, just before the Renaissance, at the time of the Knight King and his gallant court.  Manners are not much better in town.

An Austrian law of 1624, which is legal in the landgravat of Haute-Alsace, contains the rules of conduct for cadets or young officers who are invited to dinner at the home of an Austrian archduke.  This gives us an idea of what must have been the beautiful manners of the nobility of the Habsbourg empire at this time, which made the following orders necessary:

“His Imperial and Royal Highness, having deigned to invite several officers to his table, as I have many times had occasion to notice that the officers observe among themselves the greatest courtesy and good manners and conduct themselves like true and dignified cavaliers, however I need to bring to the attention of the cadets who are not yet sufficently formed the following usual measures:

“1 – Present your civilities to His Highness in clean uniforms, both clothes and boots, and do not arrive half-drunk;

“2 – At table, do not rock on your chairs or stretch your legs right out;

“3 – Do not drink after each morsel, because you will get drunk too quickly;  after each dish, only half-empty your goblets, and before drinking, wipe your moustaches and mouths properly;

“4 – Do not put your hands in the dish;  do not throw the bones behind you, or under the table;

“5 – Do not lick your fingers, do not spit on your plates, nor blow your noses in the tablecloth;

“6 – Do not empty your goblets like animals to the point of falling from your chairs and not being able to walk straight.”

All the advice on drinking would not be amiss in certain receptions today, here in Australia.

Fourth part tomorrow.

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