Special Dinners, Dances and Luncheons 523
the surprise of the hostess, each woman present, while contemning those of others, confessed to some small weakness of the kind, to which she acknowledged herself to a certain degree in bondage.
Looking to each other for mutual support, some strange revelations were made.
The hostess was at first mute, but finally exclaimed, "You surely do not believe in the agency of malignant spirits ? Then, how is it conceivable that a Deity of intelligence, if not of benevolence, should make his dealings with mankind dependent upon the casualty of breaking looking-glasses, seeing moons over right shoulders, walking under ladders, or assembling thirteen at table!"
Her guests acknowledged the absurdity of such views, when one stopped to analyse them, whereupon she continued :
"Come, I challenge you to meet here again at luncheon on the thirteenth day of the month, when that day shall fall on a Friday, and I will have thirteen at table. The breaking of a looking-glass shall summon us to the dining-room, which we will enter passing under a ladder. We will spill salt freely among ourselves, and you are especially requested to wear opals (if you have any), to sing before breakfast, to put on your garments wrong-side out, and do anything else to invite the calamities feared by the superstitious!"
Only two accepted her hospitality.
The lady then made the invitations general among her friends, adding that any who should be so venturesome as thus to "tempt Providence" (heathen expression!) might contribute for the entertainment of the others an account of some superstition's origin, its meaning, of something of interest bearing upon the subject.