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Brevities

Hospitality is one of the most ancient and most human virtues. It must have come into being when first conscious spirit allied itself to mere animal instinct and changed a higher mammal into the ancestor of modern Man. For animals, although they possess many admirable qualities such as courage, loyalty, endurance, love for their offspring and so forth, are not practicing hospitality. A mere animal does not share the food it procures for itself and its young. But Man and especially Woman delights in offering to guests the very best the larder affords, and the more hospitable a race, the more human, the more valuable is its culture and civilization.

The Bible is constantly relating tales of the hospitality that was offered to wayfaring guests. Sarah, wife of Abraham, was quickly mixing cakes to set before the three visitors who had appeared quite unexpectedly when she heard them announce that she would yet become the mother of a son. And not knowing that she really entertained angels she laughed at the apparent foolishness of the prediction. Jews in Biblical and post-Biblical times were, like most oriental people, famed for their hospitality, and even today the pious observer of the Passover festival opens his door and calls out: “Whoever is hungry may come and share our meal.”

Modern hospitality has, of course, lost this intense, semi-religious and formal character, but it has gained in lightness and charm. Especially at this season, when a tropical heat sends us fleeing from the sun-scorched city, the clever summer hostess will achieve her highest triumphs not with the important meals of the day that one is usually too weary to enjoy, but with little in-between things and drinks, with tiny special touches that refresh and delight jaded appetites. Iced tea served with a sprig of mint and a slice of orange in frosted glasses, lemonade that becomes festively ruby colored through adding a jigger of claret, black coffee, served wide tumbler with a stem, g###ously iced and flavored wi### dash of Kirsch—these are did expressions of the true of hospitality.

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