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THE TURKISH GIRL.
SETMA AND GULY IN BELGRADE.
At the junction of the Saave and the Danube, on the borders of the Turkish empire towards Austria, lies the large commercial city and fortress of Belgrade. It has thirty thousand inhabitants, and a hundred Turkish mosques or temples stand within its walls. The people are for the most part Servians, but many Turks dwell there also, the city being under Turkish jurisdiction, although frequently conquered by Christians. In this city the girl, whose history I will now relate, was born, in the year 1671. She received the name of Setma, I had almost said at her baptism; and yet she was not baptized, for her parents professed the Mahometan religion. Her father was a Turkish merchant, of the name of Osman, who possessed considerable property, and carried on his business by means of vessels on the Danube. He had the office of a Baschi or Turkish commissary, besides which he was held in high estimation, because he was a Hadschi—that is, because he had made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and to Mecca, the birth-place of Mahomet. Hence he was generally called Hadsch' Osman. But now Setma herself shall relate further.
I grew up in peaceful retirement, and saw but little of mankind; for my father was a very strict and severe man, and my mother died when I was scarcely three years old. After this, I was committed to the charge of an intelligent female slave, who was already in years, and had the oversight of the household. I was not instructed in reading or writing; the only thing I was taught was some prayers and sayings, which are customary among the Mahometans. I also learnt, besides, a few female employments. My father had a German slave from Bohemia, of whom I learned a little German for pastime. Ah, who would at that time have thought that I should afterwards find it so very useful ! But the ways of God with the children of men are wonderful, and he often prepares them long before for something they have subsequently to experience. Before the weaver commences his web, the red and blue threads are prepared, which are to be interwoven ; but no one knows their place beforehand, nor what kind of a figure will be produced, but the weaver alone.
I had a playmate of my own age, of the name of Guly, who came to me every day, and with whom I gradually formed a most intimate friendship. We amused ourselves, when together, with childish sports, for we were not able to talk about God and divine things, because we understood so little about them. O, how happy are the children of Christian parents, who from their childhood up, are made acquainted with the Saviour, and with so many pretty histories, which are found in the Bible! They are able to spend their time much better. How desirable that they should always do so! How glad we should have been, had we known at that time, the beautiful narratives of Joseph, Moses, Samuel, David, Jesus himself, and his apostles, and been able to relate them to each other! Time would then never have seemed long to us. We were the most glad when my father, whose business often required him to travel, was absent from home, and our governess had time to attend to us, and tell us a variety of histories, tales, and fables. They were certainly none of them religious, but occasionally there was something good and instructive in them. I still remember a fable which she was often obliged to relate to us, because we always took great pleasure in it. It was the fable of
THE FROG AND THE DORMOUSE. “There lived, many years ago, a dormouse, with very tender feet and sparkling eyes, in a little hollow near the foot of a rock. The little children who came thither from some neighbouring cottages, in order to play upon a mossy place beneath this rock, could not see the hole, because a twig of ivy grew over it; and as the ivy continued green all