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Rights of Hospitality

Anecdotes Home




Dr. Johnson, in his tour through North Wales,
passed two days at the seat of Colonel Middleton, of Gwynnagag. While he
remained there, the gardener found a hare amidst some potatoe plants, and
brought it to his master, then engaged in conversation with the doctor. An
order was given to carry it to the cook. As soon as Johnson heard this
sentence, he begged to have the animal placed in his arms, which was no
sooner done, than approaching the open window, he restored the hare to her
liberty, shouting after her to accelerate her speed. "What have you done,
doctor?" cried the colonel. "Why you have robbed my table of a
delicacy--perhaps deprived us of a dinner." "So much the better, sir,"
replied the humane champion of a condemned hare; "for if your table is to
be supplied at the expense of the laws of hospitality, I envy not the
appetite of him who eats it. This, sir, is not a hare taken in war, but one
which had voluntarily placed itself under your protection; and savage
indeed must be that man who does not make his hearth an asylum for the
confiding stranger."





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