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46 WOMEN IN TURKEY.
-«Gp- • - The Word Harem Has A Very Vari...
helpmate tliere on a heap of cushions , with , all the solicitude of a mother for her child . " How much you must love your husband !"
said I then to the blind woman . " I should love my sight" replied she .
I looked at the husband , who smiled sadly , but without a shadow of ill wiU .
" Poor woman ! " said he , passing" the back of his hand over his ; " her blindness makes her very wretched . She cannot get
eyes used to it : but you can restore her to sight , can you not , Bessadee ?" As I shook my head , and was about to assure him of my inability ,
he pulled the skirt of my robe , and made me a sign to be silent . " Have you any children ? " I then asked him .
" Alas ! I had one , but he is dead long ago !" " And how is it that you have not taken another wife , more
robust , and in better health , who might have given you children ?" " Ah ! that is easy to saybut this poor creature would have
been grieved by it , and that would , have prevented me from being happy with , another , even with children . You know , Bessadee _, one
cannot have everything in this world . I have loved my wife forty years , and I cannot make another choice ! "
The man who thus spoke was a Turk . His wife belonged to him like household goods , no one would have blamed , no law would
have punished him , had he freed himself by some violent measure from so useless a burden . In such a case , the only inquiry would
have been as to his motives for thus acting . Fortunately the character of the Turkish nation corrects its odious customs . There
is a precious foundation of goodness , gentleness , simplicity , and a remarkable instinct of respect fox what is greatof pity for what is
, weak . This instinct has resisted , and will long yet , we hopes resist the influence of dangerous institutions founded exclusively on the right
of strength and selfishness . To be able to understand what mildness and serenitthere is in the Turkish natureone should observe
the peasants of y Mahometan origin either in , the fields , at the market , or in the coffee-house . The harvest , the price of barley ,
their families , are the invariable subjects of their conversation . No one speaks in a loud voice , nor pushes a joke far enough to wound
or even weary his companions . No one ever mingles his -talk with those oaths or coarse sayings which the lower orders in otlier
countries delight to use . Do they owe this exquisite reserve , these noble yet simple manners , to education ? No , to nature alone . Nature
has been lavish to the , Turkish people ; its institutions tend but to destroy her gifts . As we depart from the classes where the
primitive character is preserved , and enter the middle or the yet higher regionsthere vice appears , vice which increases , spreads , and ends
, by reigning- alone . We have just witnessed the good instincts of the Turkish
nature as revealed in the peasant ; we must now study the
influence exercised over the superior classes by the deplorable
46 Women In Turkey.
46 WOMEN IN TURKEY .
English Woman’s Journal (1858-1864), Sept. 1, 1859, page 46, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/ewj/issues/ewj_01091859/page/46/