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sent day. All these grievances, though they might ruffle for a moment the constitutional tranquillity of the honest Dutch tars, made but a transient impression; they ate hugely, drank profusely, and slept immeasurably; and being under the especial guidance of Providence, the ship was safely conducted to the coast of America; where, after sundry unimportant touchings and standings off and on, she at length, on the fourth day of September, entered that majestic bay, which at this day expands its ample bosom before the city of New York, and which had never before been visited by any European, .
FROM MUSTAPHA RUB-A-DUB KELI-KH
To Asem Hacchem, principal Slave-driver to his
Highness the Bashaw of Tripoli.
Though I am often disgusted, my good Asem, with the vices and absurdities of the men of this country, yet the women afford me a world of amusement. Their lively prattle is as diverting as the chattering of the red-tailed parrot, nor can the greenheaded monkey of Timandi equal them in whim and playfulness. But, notwithstanding these valuable qualifications, I am sorry to observe they are not treated with half the attention bestowed on the before-mentioned animals. These infidels put their parrots in cages, and chain their monkeys; but their women, instead of being carefully shut up in harems and seraglios, are abandoned to the direction of their own reason, and suffered to run about in perfect freedom, like other domestic animals: this comes, Asem, of treating their women as rational beings, and allowing them souls. The consequence of this piteous neglect may easily be imagined: they have
degenerated into all their native wildness—are seldom to be caught at home, and, at an early age, take to the streets and highways, where they rove about in droves, giving almost as much annoyance to the peaceable people as the troops of wild dogs that infest our great cities, or the flights of locusts that sometimes spread famine and desolation over whole regions of fertility.
This propensity to relapse into pristine wildness, convinces me of the untameable disposition of the sex, who may indeed be partially domesticated by a long course of confinement and restraint; but the moment they are restored to personal freedom, become wild as the young partridge of this country, which, though scarcely half hatched, will take to the fields, and run about with the shell upon its back.
Notwithstanding their wildness, however, they are remarkably easy of access, and suffer themselves to be approached, at certain hours of the day, without any symptoms of apprehension; and I have even happily succeeded in detecting them at their domestic occupations. One of the most important of these consists in thumping vehemently on a kind of musical instrument, and producing a confused, hideous, and undefinable uproar, which they call the description of a battle-a jest, no doubt, for they are wonderfully facetious at times, and make great practice of passing jokes upon strangers. Sometimes they employ themselves in painting little caricatures of landscapes, wherein they will display their singular drollery in battering nature fairly out of countenance -representing her tricked out in all the tawdry finery of copper skies, purple rivers, calico rocks, red grass, clouds that look like old clothes set adrift by the tempest, and foxy trees, whose melancholy foliage, drooping and curling most fantastically, reminds me of an undressed periwig that I have now and then seen hung on a stick in a barber's window. At other times they employ themselves in acquiring
a smattering of languages spoken by nations on the other side of the globe, as they find their own language not sufficiently copious to supply their constant demands, and express their multifarious ideas. But their most important domestic avocation is to embroider, on satin or muslin, flowers of a nondescript kind, in which the great art is to make them as unlike nature as possible; or to fasten little bits of silver, gold, tinsel, and glass, on long stripes of muslin, which they drag after them with much dignity, whenever they go abroad—a fine lady, like a bird of paradise, being estimated by the length of her tail.
But do not, my friend, fall into the enormous error of supposing that the exercise of these arts is attended with any useful or profitable result: believe me, thou couldst not indulge an idea more unjust and injurious; for it appears to be an established maxim among the women of this country, that a lady loses her dignity when she condescends to be useful, and forfeits all rank in society, the moment she can be convicted of earning a farthing. . Their labours, therefore, are directed not towards supplying their household, but in decking their persons, and-generous souls !--they deck their persons, not so much to please themselves, as to gratisy others, particularly strangers. I am confident thou wilt stare at this, my good Asem, accustomed as thou art to our Eastern females, who shrink in blushing timidity, even from the glances of a lover, and are so chary of their favours, that they even seem fearful of lavishing their smiles too profusely on their husbands. Here, on the contrary, the stranger has the first place in female regard, and, so far do they carry their hospitality, that I have seen a fine lady slight a dozen tried friends and real admirers, who lived in her smiles and made her happiness their study, merely to allure the vague and wandering glances of a stranger, who viewed her person with indifference, and treated her advances with contempt. By
the whiskers of our sublime bashaw, but this is highly flattering to a foreigner ! and thou mayest judge how particularly pleasing to one, who is, like myself, so ardent an admirer of the sex. Far be it from me to condemn this extraordinary manifestation of good will— let their own countrymen look to
Be not alarmed, I conjure thee, my dear Asem, lest I should be tempted by these beautiful, barbarians, to break the faith I owe to the three and twenty wives, from whom my unhappy destiny has perhaps severed me for ever: no, Asem, neither time, nor the bitter succession of misfortunes that pursues me, can shake from my heart the memory of former attachments. I listen with tranquil heart to the strumming and prattling of these fair sirens: their whimsical paintings touch not the tender chord of my affections; and I would still defy their fascinations, though they trailed after them trains as long as the gorgeous trappings which are dragged at the heels of the holy camel of Mecca, or as the tail of the great beast in our prophet's vision, which measured three hundred and forty-nine leagues, two miles, three furlongs, and a hand's breadth in longitude.
The dress of these women is, if possible, more eccentric and whimsical than their deportment; and they take an inordinaté pride in certain ornaments, which are probably derived from their savage progenitors. A woman of this country, dressed out for an exhibition, is loaded with as many ornaments as a Circassian slave, when brought out for sale. Their heads are tricked out with little bits of horn or shell, cut into fantastic shapes; and they seem to emulate each other in the number of these singular baubles, like the women we have seen in our journeys to Aleppo, who cover their heads with the entire shell of a tortoise; and thus equipped, are the envy of all their less fortunate acquaintance. They also decorate their necks and cars with coral, gold chains, and glass beads, and load their fingers with a variety of rings; though, I must confess, I have never per. ceived that they wear any in their noses-as has been affirmed by many travellers. We have heard - much of their painting themselves most hideously, and making use of bear's grease in great profusion; but this, I solemnly assure thee, is a misrepresentation: civilization, no doubt, having gradually extirpated these nauseous practices. It is true, I have seen two or three of these females who had disguised their features with paint; but then it was merely to give a tinge of red to their cheeks, and did not look very frightful: and as to ointment, they rarely use any now, except occasionally a little Grecian oil for their hair, which gives it a glossy, greasy, and, as they think, very comely appearance. The last mentioned class of females, I take it for granted, have been but lately caught, and still retain strong traits of their original savage propensities. . · The most flagrant and inexcusable fault, however, which I find in these lovely savages, is the shameless and abandoned exposure of their persons. Wilt not thou suspect me of exaggeration, when I affirmwilt not thou blush for them, most discreet Mussulman, when I declare to thee—that they are so lost to all sense of modesty, as to expose the whole of their faces, from their forehead to the chin, and they even go abroad with their hands uncovered! Monstrous indelicacy!
But what I am going to disclose, will doubtless appear to thee still more incredible. Though I cannot forbear paying a tribute of admiration to the beautiful faces of these fair infidels, yet I must give it as my firm opinion, that their persons are preposterously unseemly. In vain did I look around me, on my first landing, for those divine forms of redundant proportions, which answer to the true standard of Eastern beauty-not a single fat fair one could I behold among the multitudes that thronged the streets: the females that passed in review before me,