1. Refuge - see this: refuge - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Should they be given shelter.
2. This is actually from the French language and it means to respond to an invitation, letting the host/ess know whether you will or will not be attending. In her story, people did not bother calling to say they were coming to the party, but they showed up anyway.
3. This is not a standard expression, but she was experiencing a lot of stress because of these guests that she was not expecting, and she therefore had not set up places for them to sit or ordered food for them.
4. Think of your own family table. You are sitting around the table. Suddenly, four guests show up at dinner time. Where do you put them? You all get a lot closer together so they can "squish" (fit in tightly).
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