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secrets as closely as their wives, they would be possessing at least one virtue of real merit.
Turkish women sometimes disregard the law and escape in groups to shady nooks and glens, throw aside their veils and have a right good time when husbands are away. A Swiss traveller relates that in a narrow lane of Constantinople he met a Mohammedan lady so enrobed that he could see nothing of her but the tips of her fingers and glaring black eyes. As she was followed by female slaves, she looked about to see that none of the faithful were in sight, then pulled down her veil exposing a face of rare beauty, and laughed merrily at the surprise she had given a Christian as she passed on. Those alone are esteemed the upper ten of the Orient, or the model wives of the East, who are confined to their own homes, devoted to the care of their children, or engaged in sewing, knitting or decorating the
They find their reward in the refined comfort which they shed about them. Such as these are considered to give tone to the best Turkish families. Their conversation, when entertained, is peculiar yet interesting, and is of the practical kind which commands respect.
To an Oriental, outer pomp and glory, and visible attractions and charms are as nothing beside the little nestling home which with its "forbidden" beauties and fireside is the only centre of all his thoughts, pleasures, affections and life. Happy indeed is she who finds herself the one wife of an affectionate husband!
The practice of polygamy by Mo
hammedans is greatly exaggerated by many writers. Very few indeed can afford more than one wife.
Nothing could be more encouraging than the gradual disappearance of the custom. It has doubtless been the source of much unhappiness in the past and may be entirely abandoned in the near future. Whoever has reflected on the subject can understand that there can be no homelife worthy of the name, except where one woman reigns as queen.
A cloudy or stormy social atmosphere is not the kind in which to bring up children. Mohammed tolerated, but did not encourage or enjoy polygamy. The Koran says, “If ve fear that ye shall not act with equity towards orphans of the female sex, take in marriage of such other women as please you two, or three, or four, and not more."
What was intended as a favor to unfortunate females, proved the source of their undoing. The Prophet unquestionably had respect for women, as he owed his success largely to his wife.
The education of the Turkish women is limited to housekeeping of a respectable order, and the Oriental culinary art. For accomplishments she learns to dance, sing and play the dulcimer. It would not do to omit that in their fancy needle-work, rugs, drapery, etc., there is much to be admired; silk scarfs wrought in golden threads formed of love ballads from Hafiz, or sacred verses from the Koran; jewel-sprinkled cushions, richly ornamented robes and garments, indicate expert skill and good taste of fancy. Indeed their skill and devotion to this truly fine art might well be imitated elsewhere. In fact, a great many articles and furniture of the home are household industries.
Fondness for fine clothes they have in common with all other women. Their costumes conform to the latest western style, as fashions are introduced direct from the French capital. The purely indoor dress is simple yet rich in silk, velvet and satin. First an undergarment of light gauze material, with full and long sleeves; next baggy trousers of the zouave type of bright color. These are more or less concealed by the gold embroidered robe or outer garment, which is open in front and has slits at the sides of wide flowing sleeves. Such a costume is certainly a good one from a sanitary point of view. The zouave sleeveless vest is worn whenever weather or taste calls for it. The head dress is usually a velvet cap, decorated with tinsel and jewelry. Their arms and necks are literally loaded with silver and gold bracelets and necklaces set with costly stones. Their feet are encased in pointed-toed slippers, which turn up like a skate.
The Turkish wife or wives must not complain of illtreatment on peril of missing paradise or getting divorced. She must not frown on her husband; if her actions in any way displease him, she is in imminent danger, should she die before he is reconciled. Her duty is to court and obtain his good will. A wise whose tongue has made trouble for her husband will have that “useful" appendage lengthened to one hundred and fifty feet at the judgment! With such a weapon, what man would dare to marry one of them! The prophet himself declares, he would not officiate at the funeral of his own daughter if her husband was displeased with her.
The Armenian ladies, justly renowned for their beauty and fairness, though so close neighbors, radically differ from the Turkish in many particulars. Circumstances have been more propitious for Armenian women's advancement; seclusion, polygamy or divorce is unknown among them. They share alike with young men the advantages of culture and education. American customs, and furniture, pianos and sewing machines, bring repose and harmony in their homes. They entertain respectable callers of either sex, but take especial delight in the company of wives and daughters of European and American nobles and ambassadors. They read, write, dress in European fashion and are thus quite responsive to the evolution of the times. It must not be denied, however, that with all their modern accomplishments they are not permitted as much liberty, neither are they esteemed or valued quite so highly, as the women of America. It is a pleasure to mention that the rising generation of the Turkish ladies are indicating a slight tendency toward European progressiveness. Their yeshmaks, or veils, are getting decidedly thinner and thinner; some, indeed, so thin that, like a transparent glass, they shine out the beautiful countenance of the lady within. They are seeking the acquaintance of their European sisters, and are endeavoring to acquire their manners and customs as far as their