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tales, they are present at all fefti- scenes, inflame them more, till they vals, and are the chief ornament appear intoxicated, and become of banquets. They place them in frantic bacchantes. Forgetting all a raised orchestra or pulpit, where reserve, they then wholly abandon they fing during the feast, after themselves to the disorder of their which they descend and form dances, senses, while an indelicate people, which no resemble ours. They who wish nothing hould be left to are pantomimes that represent the the imagination, redouble their apcommon incidents of life. Love is plause. their usual subject. The fuppleness Thefé Almai are admitted into of these dancers bodies is incon- all harems; they teach the women ceivable, and the flexibility of their the new airs, recount amorous tales, features, which take impressions cha- and recite poems in their presence, racteristic of the parts they play at which are interesting by being pic. will, astonishing. The indecency tures of their own manners. They of their attitudes is often excessive; learn them the mysteries of their each look, each gesture speaks, art, and instruct them in lascivious and in a manner so forcible as not dances. The minds of these wopossibly to be misunderstood. They men are cultivated, their conversathrow afide modesty with their veils. tion agreeable, they speak their When they begin to dance a long language with purity, and, habitu. and very light filk robe floats on ally addicting themselves to poetry, the ground, negligently girded by learn the most winning and fonoa salh ; long black hair, perfumed, rous modes of expression. Their reand in tresles, descends over their cital is very graceful ; when they shoulders ; the shift, transparent as fing, nature is their only guide : gauze, scarcely conceals the skin : fome of the airs I have heard from as the action proceeds, the various them were gay, and in a light and forms and contours the body can lively measure, like some of ours; affume feem progressive; the sound but their excellence is most feen of the Aute, the caftanets, the tam- in the pathetic. When they rebour de basque, and cymbals, re- hearse a moal, in the manner of the gulate, increase, or flacken their ancient tragic ballad, by dwelling Iteps. Words, adapted to such like upon affecting and plaintive tones,
Abulfeda has preserved the conclusion of a moal, sung by Ommia over the cavity in which his kinsmen had been thrown after the defeat of Beder.
Have I yet not wept enough over the noble fons of the princes of Mecca ?
I beheld their broken bones, and, like the turtle in the deep recess of the forest, filled the air with my lamentations.
Prostrate on earth, unfortunate mothers, mingle your sighs with my tears.
And ye, who follow their oblequies, sing dirges, ye wives, interrupted by your groans.
What happened to the princes of the people at Beder, the chiefs of tribes ?
Vie de Mabomet, par Sa-vary, page 83.
they inspire melancholy, which in- “ And she went forth, and faid sensibly augments, till it melts in unto her mother, What shall I ask ?
The very Turks, enemies and he said, The head of John the as they are to the arts, the Turks Baptift. themselves, pass whole nights in is And she came in straightway. listening to them. Two people sing with hafte unto the king, and asked, together sometimes, but, like their saying, I will that thou give me by orchestra, they are always in unison: and by in a charger the head of accompaniments in music are only John the Baptist. for enlightened nations; who, while “ And immediately the king sent melody charms the ear, wish to have an executioner, and commanded his the mind employed by a just and head to be brought, and he went inventive modulation. Nations, on and beheaded him in the prison." the contrary, whose feelings are of- The Almai are present at martener appealed to than their under- riage ceremonies, and precede the standing, little capable of catching bride, playing on instruments. They the fleeting beauties of harmony, also accompany funerals, at which delight in those fimple founds which they fing dirges, utter groans and immediately attack the heart, with- lamentations, and imitate every out calling in the aid of reflection mark of grief and despair. Their ro increase sensibility.
price is higli, and they feldom atThe Israelites, to whom Egyp- tend any but wealthy people and tian manners, by long dwelling in great lords. Egypt, were become natural, also I was lately invited to a splendid had their Almai. At Jerusalem, as supper, which a rich Venetian merat Cairo, it seems they gave the chant gave the receiver-general of women lessons. St. Mark relates a the finances of Egypt. 'The Almaz fact which proves
the power of the sung various airs during the banOriental dance over the heart of quet, and afterwards the praises of man *.
the principal guests. I was most “ And when a convenient day pleased by an ingenious allegory, , was come, that Herod on his birth- in which Cupid was the supposed
supper to his lords, interlocutor. There was play after high captains, and chief eitates of fupper, and I perceived handfuls of Galilee ;
sequins were occasionally sent to the “And when the daughter of the fingers. This festival brought them faid Herodias came in, and danced, fifty guineas at least; they are not, and pleased Herod, and them that however, always so well paid. fat with him, the king said unto the The common people have their damsel, Alk of me whatsoever thou Almai also, who are a second order wilt, and I will give it thee. of these women, imitators of the
" And he sware unto her, What- first; but have neither their ele. soever thou shalt ‘alk of me, I will gance, grace, nor knowledge. They give it thee, unto the half of my are seen every where ; the public kingdom.
squares and walks round Grand
* St. Mark, chap. . ver. 21.
Cairo abound with them; the po. How different in Egypt, where they palace require ideas to be convey- are bowed down by the fetters of ed with still less disguise ; decency flavery, condemned to servitude, therefore will not permit me to de- and have no influence in public af. scribe the licentiousness of their mo- fairs ! Their empire is confined tions and postures, of which no idea within the walls of the harem. can be formed but by seeing. The There are their graces and charms Indian Bayadieres are exemplarily entombed : the circle of their life exmodest, when compared to the tends not beyond their own family dancing girls of the Egyptians. and domestic duties +. This is the principal diversion of Their first care is to educate their these people, and in which they children, and a numerous pofterity greatly delight.”
is their moft fervent with ; public respect and the love of their husband are annexed to fruitfulness. This is even the
prayer of the poor, who Some Account of the private life of earns his bread by the sweat of his
the Egyptian women, their inclina- brow; and, did not adoption alle. tions, morals, employments, pleasures; viate grief
viate grief when nature is unkind, the manner in which they educate a barren woman would be incontheir children ; and their custom of her child, whose infant smiles, ad.
folable. The mother daily fuckles weeping over the tombs of their kindred, after having Arewed them ded to frequent pregnancy, recom. with flowers and odoriferous plants. pences all the cares and pains they Extracted from the same work.
incurred. Milk diseases, and those maladies which dry up the juices
of the youthful wife, who sends her Grand Cairo.
offspring to be nurtured by a stranN Europe * women act parts of ger, are here unknown. That moreign sovereigns on the world's vaft a law as ancient as the world; it is theatre; they influence manners expressly commanded by Mahomet. and morals, and decide on the most " Let mothers suckle their children important events; the fate of na- full two years, if the child does not tions is frequently in their hands. quit the breaft; but. The shall be
* The Egyptians never mention their wives in conversation; or, if obliged to speak of them, they say, the mother of fuch a person, the mistress of the house, &c. Good manners will not permit the visitor to ask, How does your wife do, Sir? But in imitation of their reserve, it is necessary to say, How does the mother of such a person do? And this they think an insult unless asked by a kinsman or an intimate friend. This I relate as perfectly characteristic of Eastern jealousy.
† The compiler Pomponius Mela pretends women do the out-door business in Egypt, and men that of the household. Every writer who has been in this country difproves the opinion.
permitted to wean it with the con. freely, and with his delicate limbs sent of her husband *.” Ulysses, sprawls at pleasure. The new elein the Elysian fields, beholds his ment in which he is to live is not mother, his tender mother there, entered with pain and tears. Daily who had fed him with her milk, bathed beneath his mother's eye, he and nurtured him in infancy t. grows apace; free to act, he tries
When obliged by circumitances his coming powers, rolls, crawls, to take a nurse, they do not treat rises, and, hould he fall, cannot her as a stranger; she becomes one much hurt himself, on the carpet of the family, and passes her days or mat which covers the floor ļ. amidst the children she has suckled, He is not banished his father's by whom she is cherished and ho- house when seven years old, and noured as a second mother.
sent to college with the loss of Racine, who possessed not only health and innocence ; he does not, genius but all the knowledge neces- 'tis true, acquire much learning; fary to render genius conspicuous, he perhaps can only read and write; stored with the learning of the - but he is healthy, robust, fears God, finest works of Greece, and well respects old age, has filial piety, and acquainted with Oriental manners, delights in hospitality; which virgives Phædra her nurse as her fole tues, continually practised in his confidante. The wretched queen, family, remain deeply engraven on infected by a guilty passion the could his heart. not conquer, while the fatal fecret The daughter's education is the oppressed a heart that durft not un- fame. Whalebone and busks, which load itself, could not resolve to speak martyr European girls, they know her thoughts to the tender none, not; they run naked, or only covertill the latter had said,
ed with a shift, till fix years old,
and the dress they afterwards wear Cruelle, quand ma foi vous a-t-elle déçue? confines none of their limbs, but Songez-vous, qu'en naislant, mes bras vous
suffers the body to take its true ont réçue !
form, and nothing is more uncomWhen, cruel queen, by me were you de- mon than rickety children and ceiv'd?
crooked people. Man rises in all his Did I not first receive you in these arms ? majesty, and woman displays every
charm of person, in the east. In The harem is the cradle and Georgia and Greece those fine school of infancy. The new-born marking outlines, those admirable feeble being is not there swaddled forms, which the Creator gave the and filleted up in a swathe, the chief of his works, are best preservsource of a thousand diseases. Laid ed. Apelles would still find monaked on a mat, exposed in a vast dels worthy of his pencil there. chamber to the pure air, he breathes The care of their children does
I The rooms are paved with large flag-stones, washed once a week, and covered in summer with a reed mat, of ariful workmanship, and a carpet in winter:
not wholly employ the women; barbarous, and exclaim against with every other domestic concern is justice, appear so natural here, that theirs : they overlook their house. they do not suspect it can be otherhold, and do not think themselves wise elsewhere. Such is the power debased by preparing themselves of habit over man: what for ages their own food, and that of their has been, be supposes a law of nahusbands. Former customs, still sub- ture. fifting, render these cares duties. Though thus employed, the EgypThus Sarah haftened to bake cakes tian women have much leisure, which upon the hearth, when angels visited they spend among their slaves, emAbraham, who performed the rites broidering sahes, making veils, of hospitality. Menelaus thus en- tracing designs to decorate their fotreats the departing Telemachus:- fas, and in ipinning.”
" Labour has its relaxations; “ Yet stay, my friends, and in your chariot pleasure is not banished the harem.
The nurse recounts the history of « The noblest presents that our love can past times with a feeling which her make;
hearers participate ; cheerful and « Mean-time, commit we to our women's
paffionate songs are accompanied « Some choice domestic viands to pre- by the slaves with the tambour de
bafque and caftanets. Sometimes
the Almai come, to enliven the Subject to the immutable laws by scene with their dances and affectwhich custom governs the East, the ing recitals, and by relating amowomen do not associate with men, rous romances ; and, at the close of not even at table †, where the union the day, there is a repast, in which of sexes produces mirth, and wit, exquisite fruits and perfumes are and makes food more sweet. When served with profusion. Thus do the great incline to dine with one they endeavour to charm away the of their wives, she is informed, pre- duiness of captivity. pares the apartment, perfumes it Not that they are wholly pri. with precious essences, procures the soners ; once or t'vice a week they most delicate viands, and receives
are permitted to go to the bath, and her lord with the utmost attention visit female relations and friends. and respect. Among the common To bewail the dead is likewise a people, the women usually stand, or duty they are allowed to perform. fit in a corner of the room while I have often seen distracted mothers the husband dines, often hold the round Grand Cairo, reciting funebason for him to wash, and serve ral hymns over the tombs they had him at table f. Customs like these, strewed with odoriferous plants." which the Europeans rightly call “ The Egyptian women receive
* Pope's Odyssey, Book XV.
† Saralı, who prepared the dinner for Abraham and his guests, fat not at table, but remained in her tent.
I lately dined with an Italian who had married an Egyptian woman, and assumed their manners, having lived here long. His wife and lister-in-law stood in niy presence, and it was with difficulty I prevailed on them to fit at table with urs, where they were extremely timid and disconcerted.