THE proverb according to which ‘caste is only a question of food’ is an answer to those to whom it is a question of trade. It proves at least that habit has not been able to lessen, even for the Hindus, the surprise we experience at the scrupulous care with which they observe two very complicated and hampering laws: the first is to refuse any food which may have been prepared or merely touched by people of a caste which they consider inferior; the second is never to take meals with people of a lower caste, which, by virtue of a natural reciprocity, amounts to not taking meals with anybody but equals. Here is a rule which would be strangely disturbing to our democratic habits. Even in India it is not without its drawbacks. The scruples which it maintains have done much to render intercourse between Europeans and natives rarer and more difficult and to prevent Hindus reaping in their travels the benefits of Western civilization.