On Hospitality (from the Guide to the “Good” Life)

To roast the suckling pig alone, stoking the fire with an iron recast from discarded, dull and dented tools, is the nadir of one’s life. But to roast it with others, with the same tool, is the greatest joy. (section 5)

One should take care not to inadvertently spread welcome too broadly. The addition of just one stray fellow who has somehow heard of the gathering from the pub palaver can bring about a transfiguration of both manner and feeling: laughter is no longer a mirthful contagion, new topics are introduced with calculation rather than through jolly idiosyncratic mind-wandering. The evening becomes too late before the hour is late. Polite dispersal and handshakes. (section 13)

One response

  1. “One often finds, in congenial company, when the provisions of food fall short of right, through the intrusion of just one or two unexpected guests, all the guests turn mean spirited and ready to devour each other like birds of prey. But, if abundant provisions are set in advance, the wine flows as freely as a Carinthian spring, the glasses of schnapps grow as full as Galician lakes, and the very same people are soon inspired by fond memories, and continuous fresh ideas.”

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