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and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.'” (Gen. xviii. 148.)
“ It would be very unpleasant now to have one's feet washed, the first thing, when we go
into a friend's house, would it not, father ?”
“ Perhaps it would be inconvenient, to say the least, to most of us. But in the East, one of the first kindnesses to strangers is to wash their feet. That the custom is very ancient, is evident, because several instances of it are mentioned in the Odyssey-Homer says :
By God the stranger, and the poor are sent,
“ I scarcely think, father, that any one would now do as Abraham did.”
“ There is not the same occasion now, Harry, as then for hospitality to travellers, except in some countries, where are few, if any inns, or houses appropriated to the accommodation of travellers."
“ But we read of it many times in the Bible; so it must then have been common."
True, Harry; and, ‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers,' is a precept of the New Testament. Kindness to strangers seems a part of that universal benevolence which the divinely simple and beautiful religion of the Bible inculcates."
“Was any thing like this hospitality ever practised in our own country ?”
Yes, Harry; the word LORD is a contraction of the Anglo-Saxon word HLAFORD;
from ulay, bread, or loaf; and FORD, to supply, or give out; the term Lord, therefore, means, the giver of bread. Hence, English noblemen are called lords, because they all used to keep open houses, into which strangers and vassals might enter and eat as much as they chose; on this account they were called Lords, or Givers of bread. Some of the most ancient families still keep up this custom.”
“ Well, I never knew what the term Lord meant before. I shall always recollect its meaning; it is so pleasing.”
“ The narrations of travellers abound in specimens of hospitality, which they have met with in the Eastern part of the world. Tavernier says, “When we were not above a musket-shot from Anna, a fine old man came up to me, and took my horse by the bridle ; • Friend,' said he, come and wash thy feet, and eat bread at my house.
Thou art a stranger; and since I have met thee on the road, do not refuse the favour I desire of thee.' We could not but go along with him to his house, where he feasted us in the best manner he could ; and not only provided for us, but also for our horses.'
“• When a stranger approaches an Arab village,' says La Roque, he signifies to the chief, that he wants a supper and lodging; and he confers on him all that he wants. But often, as soon as the people see a stranger advancing, they go out to meet him; if he wishes for refreshment, and then to go forward, he stays under some tree, and they bring him eggs, butter, curds, honey, olives, or fruit, either fresh, or dried.'
“• Whoever presents himself at their door,' says Volney, referring to the Druses, in the quality of a suppliant, or a passenger, is sure of being entertained with lodging and food in the most generous and unaffected manner. I have often seen the lowest peasants give the last morsel of bread they had in their houses to the hungry traveller. When they have once contracted with their guest the sacred · engagement of bread and salt, no subsequent event can make them violate it.'
“Nothing,' says Elphinstone, in his account of the kingdom of Caubul, “could exceed the civility of the country people ; we were often invited into gardens, and were welcomed in every village by almost every man that saw us. Sometimes they would lay hold of our bridles, and not permit us to pass, till we had promised to breakfast with them on some future day, and confirmed the promise by putting our hands between theirs."