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Hospitality

  • Invitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

  • The test of being a good host is how well the departing guest likes himself.

  • ... no bachelor should invite guests to his home unless he has a full retinue of servants to care for their wants.

  • [Completely bored by a country weekend, wiring to a friend:] For heaven's sake, rush me a loaf of bread, enclosing saw and file.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Stuart Y. Silverstein, Not Much Fun: The Lost Poems of Dorothy Parker ()
  • Hospitality is simply love on the loose.

  • Hospitality is the key to new ideas, new friends, new possibilities. What we take into our lives changes us. Without new people and new ideas, we are imprisoned inside ourselves.

  • Visiting is a pleasure; being visited is usually a mixed or ambivalent joy. ... The visitor can always go home; the visitee is already home, trapped like a rat in a drainpipe.

  • Hospitality, or flinging wide the door to friends and wayfarers alike, was once important, back in a world without motels or safety nets, where a friend might find his castle burnt down or a wayfarer find bandits on his trail.

  • Denham felt the relief that follows unaccepted hospitality.

  • An exquisite peace obtains ... a divine emptiness. ... Silence drops like falling blossoms over the recovered kingdom from which pretenders have taken their leave. ... One's life to oneself again. Dear visitors, what largesse have you given, not only in departing, but in coming, that we might learn to prize your absence, wallow the more exquisitely in the leisure of your not-being. To-night we shall sleep deep. We need no more hope that you 'have everything you want'; we know that you have, for you are safely home, and can get it from your kitchen if you haven't.

  • A guest is really good or bad because of the host or hostess who makes being a guest an easy or a difficult task.

  • Just so sure as one puts on any old rag, and thinks nobody will come, company is sure to call.

  • True hospitality consists of giving the best of yourself to your guests.

  • He moved forward to greet his guests with that extra heartiness which the host who has had some inhospitable qualms always assumes.

  • It was a delightful visit; - perfect, in being much too short.

  • Guests are the delight of leisure, and the solace of ennui.

  • [We] talked on about household forms and ceremonies, as if we all believed that our hostess had a regular servants' hall ... instead of the one little charity-school maiden, whose short ruddy arms could never have been strong enough to carry the tray up-stairs, if she had not been assisted in private by her mistress, who now sat in state, pretending not to know what cakes were sent up; though she knew, and we knew, and she knew that we knew, and we knew that she knew that we knew, she had been busy all the morning making tea-bread and sponge cakes.

  • ... suffering is as necessary to entertaining as vermouth is to a Martini — a small but vital ingredient.

  • It is a widespread and firm belief among guests that their departure is always a matter of distress to their hosts, and that in order to indicate that they have been pleasantly entertained, they must demonstrate an extreme unwillingness to allow the entertainment to conclude. This is not necessarily true.

  • Originality is not everything. The words hosts most want to hear when the evening is over are 'Thank you, I had a wonderful time' and 'Good night.'

  • My father used to say, / 'Superior people never make long visits ...'

  • Nor was he insincere in saying, 'Make my house your inn.' / Inns are not residences.

  • To be attentive to our guests is not only true kindness, but true politeness: for if there is a virtue which is its own reward, hospitality is that virtue. We remember slight attentions, after we have forgotten great benefits ...

    • Abigail Adams,
    • letter to her granddaughter Caroline (1808), in Caroline de Windt, ed., Journal and Correspondence of Miss Adams ()
  • You must not stay so long as to not make your Friends twice glad.

    • Abigail Adams,
    • letter (1810), in John P. Kaminski, The Quotable Abigail Adams ()
  • ... it doesn't take long to stay an hour.

  • It is difficult to get rid of people when you once have given them too much pleasure ...

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1845, in Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett 1845-1846, vol. 1 ()
  • No one is as cold in their own houses as their visitors.

  • Entertaining is one method of avoiding people. It is very often the negation of hospitality.

  • We never sit down to our pottage, / We never go calm to our rest, / But lo! at the door of our cottage, / The knock of the Guest.

  • True hospitality neither expects nor desires any return, and it is only the inhospitable that keep a debt and credit account.

  • One uncongenial guest can ruin a dinner more easily than a poor salad, and that is saying a great deal.

  • I hate guests who complain of the cooking and leave bits and pieces all over the place and cream-cheese sticking to the mirrors.

  • Hospitality shares what it has. It does not atempt to give what it has not.

  • Now what is a guest? A thing of a day! A person who disturbs your routine and interferes with important concerns. Why should any one be grateful for company? Why should time and money be lavished on visitors? They come. You overwork yourself. They go. You are glad of it. You return the visit, because it's the only way to have back at them ...

  • The relationship of host and guest has always been a difficult one, hedged about with practical and spiritual problems. ... If you went to tea with Marmaduke, you were not allowed to take things away from him because, after all, they were his toys; but if Marmaduke came to tea with you, you had to give him everything he wanted because he was the visitor. ... you never again felt quite the same about Marmaduke.

  • Mrs. Winterson was not a welcoming woman. If anyone knocked at the door she ran down the lobby and shoved the poker through the letter box.

  • I mean well, at least initially. I miss my friends. I want to see you. I want to show you this darling cottage and share all the fun we're having. Then, after about an hour, I want you to go home.

  • It is not possible to rent a beach house within five hours' drive of one's hometown without being visited by people. This is especially true if I have actually invited them. One of my problems is that I like to be nicer than I actually am.

  • Emily was feeling the elation of conscientious hosts when they can temporarily escape a ubiquitous houseguest.

  • Allegra made them all welcome, and in turn she bloomed in her own hospitality.

  • Never try to make Americans or foreigners feel at home — had they wished to feel at home, they would have remained in their own county.

  • Each time the need gripped her to give a dinner party for twelve, or an informal party for fifty, she filled a bag and took a bus to Regent's Park where, on the edge of the bird-decorated waters, she went on until her supplies ran out and her need to feed others was done.

  • Dolores greeted the guest effusively enough to make it clear she wasn't really welcome.

  • Visitors should conform as much as possible to the habits and customs of the house. They should be moderate in their demands for personal attendance. They should not carry their moods into the drawing-room or to the table, and, whether they are bored or not, should be ready to contribute as much as in their power to an atmosphere of pleasure. If the above involves too much self-sacrifice, then an invitation to visit should by no means be accepted.

  • Concocting a good guest list is like seasoning a gourmet sauce. Too many similar ingredients and it's bland. Too much variety in the seasoning and the result may be overpowering.

  • True hospitality is a delicate balance of warmth and form.

  • House guests (I don't care who they are, how much I like them, or how long it's been since I last saw them) are pests, much like roaches and mice. But there are differences. You can trap roaches and mice. And they don't want you to drive them to Disneyland.

  • My father's motto has always been 'Room in the heart, room in the house.' As charming as this sounds, it translates into a long line for the bathroom and extra loads of laundry for my mother.

  • A guest should be permitted to graze, as it were, in the pastures of his host's kindness, left even to his own devices, like a rational being, and handsomely neglected.

  • Mr. Salteena was an elderly man of 42 and was fond of asking people to stay with him.

  • There was no getting away from her hearty hospitality, no escaping her prodigality of presents. It was dangerous to praise or even to approve of any thing belonging to herself in her hearing; if it had been the carpet under her feet or the shawl on her shoulders, either would instantly have been stripped off to offer.

  • To entertain at home is both a relief and a rediscovery — of rooms and settings, of your favorite things, and particularly of your own tastes and ideas.

  • They came, usually at dinnertime, or perhaps it was only that we always ate when they arrived ...

  • Stanley never answered a doorbell naturally and innocently as other people do. He always debated whether it was wise to answer it at all.

  • The most charming visitor may linger one day too long. The best time to go is when everybody's asking you to stay.

  • It is not the correct thing to invite many people who like to monopolize conversation; one of this kind will be found amply sufficient.

  • It is not the correct thing for the host to take advantage of the helpless position of his guests, and to retail to them all his old stories.

  • There is nothing wrong with not wanting to be a hospitable person and have groups of people in your home touching your personables.

  • As my guests leave even my most simple parties, I consistently hear the same thing: 'That was the best time I ever had,' and it's always me saying it. But I do know in my heart they all feel the same way, probably.

  • ... I got stuck for three big luncheon checks before I realized I was with experts. Sybella's friends were to sticking people with checks what Culbertson was to bridge.

  • [On how to be a successful host:] When your guests arrive say, 'At last!' And when they leave say, 'So soon!'

    • Anonymous,
    • in Henry O. Dormann, ed., The Speaker's Book of Quotations ()
  • Tact is the art of making people feel at home when that's where you wish they were.