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tailed parrot, nor can the green-headed 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 ha-Tems 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 upróar, 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 land
scapes, 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 non-descript 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 abroada 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 gratify 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 that.
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;--10, 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 stramming 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 inordinate 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 ears with coral, gold chains, and glass beads, and load their fingers with a variety of rings; though, I must confess; I have never perceived 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 ass sure thee, is a misrepresentation: vilization, 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 thiok 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 thou not sus. pect me of exaggeration when I afirmwilt 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, tripping sportively along, resembled a procession of sha
dows, returning to their graves at the crowing of the cock.
This meagreness I first ascribed to their excessive volubility, for I have somewhere seen it advanced by a learned doctor, that the sex were endowed with a peculiar activity of tongue, in order that they might practise talking as a healthful exercise, necessary to their confined and sedentary mode of life. This exercise, it was natural to suppose, would be carried to great excess in a logocracy. “ Too true," thought I, they have converted, what was undoubtedly meant as a beneficent gift, into a noxious habit, that steals the flesh from their bones and the rose from their cheeks—they absolutely talk themselves thin!” Judge then of my surprise when I was assured, not long since, that this meagreness was considered the perfection of personal beauty, and that many a lady starved herself, with all the obstinate perseverance of a pious dervise, into a fine figure! “ Nay more,” said my informer," they will often sacrifice their healths in this eager pursuit of skeleton beauty, and drink vinegar, eat pickles, and smoke tobacco, to keep themselves within the scanty outlines of the fashions.”—Faugh! Allah preserve me from such beauties, who contaminate their pure blood with noxious recipes; who impiously sacrifice the best gifts of Heaven to a preposterous and mistaken vanity. Ere long I shall not be surprised to see them scaring their faces like the negroes of Congo, flattening their noses in imitation of the Hottentots, or like the barbarians of Ab-al Timar, distorting their lips and ears out of all natural dimensions. Since I received this information, I cannot contemplate a fine figure, without thinking of a vinegar cruet; nor look at a dashing belle, without fancying her a pot of pickled cucumbers? What a difference, my friend, between those shades and the plump beauties of Tripoli, -what a contrast between an infidel fair one and my favourite wife, Fatima, whom I bought by the hundred weight, and had trundled home in a wheelbarrow!
But enough for the present; I am promised a faithful account of the arcana of a lady's toilette-a complete ini